Originally published in 2009, this article which doesn't have the pictures aligned properly is being republished just for my own amusement. R.P. BenDedek
Christmas 2008 was a busy time for this old man who doesn't like Christmas at the best of times.
|If only I had a gun! Musical Moving Santa Display at the YanFu Hotel|
Firstly it falls right at the end of the school year amidst preparations for final examinations.
Secondly, being a foreigner in China means that you have a duty to be seen, and it is the traditional duty of your Chinese hosts to demonstrate their honour for you by arranging Christmas festivities for you. And so it was that I received notification that on Wednesday 23rd and Thursday 24th I was to attend two special Dinners.
|YanFu Hotel Christmas Spectacular.|
I have already written about the first dinner, the 'President's Dinner', and at the end of that article I posted a picture of a lovely lady dressed in traditional costume. I took that photo the following night at the Second dinner at the YanFu Hotel.
|Ben - Guo Haibin Interpreter and Advertising Department Manager YanFu hotel|
On the appointed day and at the appointed hour, and together with 2 other foreign teachers, I was met at the school gate by a gentleman who spoke very good English, and who escorted us to the Hotel.
On the way, he, Guo Haibin, otherwise known as 'Ben', the Advertising Manager of the Hotel, explained to us the situation.
Every year the YanFu hotel holds a special Christmas 'Dinner and Show' for guests willing to pay the 300-400 rmb for the ticket.
As our school is in some way connected to the Hotel, the foreign teachers are invited, 'free of charge'.
Well I must say that I was impressed. There was a whole room spread with food that was constantly being replenished throughout the evening.
Every imaginable type of drink was also freely available, including some wonderful wines with Chinese labels. Later I noticed that the wine bottles indicated that they were Imported Australian wines. No Wonder I was impressed!
|Chef at YanFu Hotel Christmas Dinner|
Being a 'ticketed' event, everyone was assigned seats that matched their ticket number.
|Foreigners collecting their lucky door prizes|
The reason for this was that there were 'lucky seat' prizes to be won.
A randomly selected person would press a button on the computer and when they released it, the spinning numbers stopped and that number and corresponding seat position, won a prize.
Stewart and Mark both got lucky that night.
One lady even won a new computer.
But this was not the highlight of the night. The highlight was the entertainment which was provided. It ranged from Arabic dancing to comedy routines to wild singing and dancing.
|Arabian Chinese Dancers|
The first 'cab off the rank' by way of entertainment (If you don't count the Chinese Santa that was running around all night), was the Mystery Performer mentioned in my last article.
|Brady with Chinese Santa. It's only the photo that makes Brady look drunk ..er.. then again!|
But I'll save that story for later.
There was however a Comedy Duo that were quite good and who, or so it seemed to me, were speaking in Shandong Dialect.
It was a little on the 'risque' side from what I could understand of it.
If you believe what the students would have you believe, you would think that Chinese society is totally 'prim and proper'.I know first hand from my experiences in the countryside, that the Chinese sense of humour is as ribald as any other.
As the female of the Duo would be talking or telling a story, her partner, who looked like a '19th century Chinese caricature' would be pulling faces and jumping all over the place.
|Comic performance with singing|
His hair, which was closely shaved on both sides and at the back, was long at the top, and parted in a wide part in an 'Albert' type of way. (You remember! That kid that had that one strand of hair that stuck up in the air!)
Anyway, this guy's voice, which I am sure that Tiny Tim would have envied, would jump from the lower to higher octaves as he spoke. He kept wandering off during the girl's performance to do crazy things, and kept pulling faces while she was trying to talk seriously.
His facial contortions were hilarious.
The fact that he had one tooth missing from the left side of his mouth made his act even more hilarious.
He played the part of a 'fool' quite well, a role most assuredly an act, given his appearance and behaviour in the closing segment of the show.
|That's the 'fool' leading the other performers on stage in the closing act.|
|Kung Fu training certainly puts one through the hoops!|
We were also treated to a demonstration of 'Shaolin' arts.
|Kung Fu Fighter! Ooh! Argh! Oh Yeah! I would have taken a rickshaw myself!|
Not only did the performer put himself through the hoops (pardon the pun) but got Sam up to 'trip the lights fantastic!'
When they called for volunteers to take part, Sam eagerly volunteered. Never ones to miss an opportunity to see a foreigner make a fool of himself, the Chinese MC readily accepted Sam's offer.
The tiny performer took one look at him and said: 'Whoa! How heavy is he?'
Just to see if he could do what he wanted, he picked Sam up in a bear hug. That was certainly entertaining. What Sam thought when the guy grabbed him front on and lifted him, I have no idea!
The guy had 4 electric lights on a board, and his trick was to stand on the light bulbs. This took quite a bit of skill even on his own.
With Sam on his back, it was even more tricky. The trickiest part however, was trying to actually see what was happening. People from all over the room ran to the front and completely blocked the stage and everyone else's view. I slipped off my shoes and stood on a chair.
We were also entertained by a Male singer cum Dancer who rocked out socks off with his singing ability.
|Sexy Male Performer dancing with Sam's wife Amanda.|
It was hard to judge his age, even though I got a good close look later when he was introduced to our table, but I would guess about 35 years old.
With a great figure and a whole lot of energy, he belted out his songs, even as he raced around the room grabbing ladies to dance with as he sang.
Not only was he a dynamic performer, but a true professional. I actually saw the moment while he was singing on stage, when he swallowed a bug.
There was this look of surprise on his face, a quick cough to try and clear his windpipe, and missing only two words, he continued on like a trooper.
By the time of his last song he was obviously distressed and the moment he finished it, he raced from the stage. I had a clear view 'off stage' and could see him trying to clear his throat as he gasped for air. Well done old man!
Amanda was not the only one of us who managed to join in the performances. Mark also got his chance dancing with a 'maturing' but dynamic female singer.
|Mark and Wild Chinese Singer who had a penchant for things American|
Like her male counterpart she raced all over the place, dancing with guests, singing to them, and even standing on chairs, as she belted out her songs.
Mark was the lucky one at our table. He was chosen to dance with the songstress. As she headed for our table, one of the organisers was pointing at me saying: 'Dance with the old American!' Huh! American indeed!
Fortunately I was on the other side the table, and when I realised what he wanted her to do, I put my head down and began playing with my camera. I wasn't going to buy into that! I ain't no Fool! er... then again!
Playing the fool in China is part of a foreign teacher's job and lifestyle. It's one of those things you have to do if you don't want to end up in a screaming heap on the ground.
No matter what people may say, it's not easy sticking out like a sore thumb for every passerby to stare and gawk at, and to make comments about. So you just have to go with the flow and entertain the troops sometimes. Speaking of which, get a load of what is written on the back of this lady's shirt.
|We're in the U.S. Army now - but in China|
Between the paid comedians and the unpaid comedic foreigners, there was a lot of fun to be had this night.
|Comedienne and musician|
This little lady in this photograph, in addition to her comedy routine, played three different instruments.
For a brief moment I thought she was faking it, because the sound was perfect and there appeared to be no microphones.
If you take a close look at her wrists, you can see the microphone jammed through the wrist band she is wearing.
She was extremely skilled in both musical and comedic talent and a pleasure to watch.
But I have to say that the real show stopper was the lady dressed in traditional 'Miao' costume, who sang an absolutely beautiful song in a very traditional high pitched voice.
She walked out on that stage like a 'Royal'. Tall, slender, mature, composed, and thoroughly professional, she was an absolute pleasure to look at and listen to. And then the Bomb dropped!
|Traditional Song: Traditional Dress:
Traditional Chinese Performer|
When this lovely lady finished her performance, the audience broke into applause; as well they should have. She smiled, bowed, and waited for the MC to appear.
He then asked her a question. I have no idea what the question was, and nor do I know what her answer was. All I know is, that this beautiful lady answered in a deep resonant male voice.
The audience was stunned! My mouth hit the floor and bounced back up again.
As the conversation progressed I was catching only a part of what was being said, but enough to understand what the MC was saying when he was asking the audience if they could guess whether she was or was not a man.
She would speak with a man's voice, and then a woman's voice and then go back to the man's voice. It was certainly something.
I don't know what the people in front of me at the next table thought was funnier; the MC's statement that perhaps the only way to know was to look under her dress; or the fact that I burst out laughing when he said it.
Finally he asked her to sing again, and this time, she outdid herself. One sentence of the song would be in a man's voice, and the next would be in a woman's voice. It was remarkable.
Though no one else at my table had any idea of the gender of this performer, I felt that she was singing the female part with greater ease than the male part and so decided that she was a woman.
Later however, I noted that all the performers were gathered off stage watching each successive act, and amongst them was a very tall handsome young man with finely chiseled features. As I watched him I couldn't help but wonder if 'he' were 'she'.
As the night came to a close, all the performers came back on stage to do one final number together. Guess who was missing? I figure that maybe 'he' did not want to give the 'act' away. Then again, maybe 'she' didn't want to either. Who knows?
I hope you have enjoyed this little adventure.
Additional Photographs of this event.
|MC taking a bow at YanFu hotel YanCheng|
Death to American Freedom of Association, Thought and Speech
by R.P. BenDedek
Apr 2, 2014
McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. It also means "the practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism. Our Western societies are full of 'ideologues' using every means at their disposal to force their ideological principles onto people who ought to have the right to reject those ideas and ideals. But with each new day leading us into our future, we are being lead deeper and deeper into an ideology of 'submission to the powers that be.
Islamophobia: Irrational Phobia or Rational Fear?
by R.P. BenDedek
February 13, 2014
I called that xxxxx a dirty rotten liar because he is a dirty rotten liar, not because I hate Islam or Muslims. By some people's definition of Islamophobia, saying anything nasty about a Muslim should be a crime - even if it is true. You think I made that up didn't you? The fact of the matter is that it has twice already been declared in a court of law the 'truth' is no defense in a 'hate speech' trial. My fear is that my own country has become so weak, gutless and godless that one day it will become an Islamic Republic. My fear is quite rational. Do I blame Muslims for this? No!
The Hidden Agenda: Israel, Palestine and Egypt.
by R.P. BenDedek
February 7, 2014
It seems that Israel has conspired to keep the truth from us. Watch the video and see how Israel treats Muslims, Druze and Arabs of all persuasions. But what is Egypt today? First and foremost it is an Islamic Country, one that has been struggling to catch up with Western economic success. But it is not exactly a success story
R.P.BenDedek (pseudonym) is the Author of 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran' (www.kingscalendar.com ), and is a guest columnist and stand-in Editor at Magic City Morning Star News. He is also the Editor of the 'Writers Journal' at Kingscalendar.com. An Australian, he has been teaching Conversational English in China since 2003.
Writers Journal Kingscalendar
"The King's Calendar" is a chronological study of the historical books of the Bible (Kings and Chronicles), Josephus, Seder Olam Rabbah, and the (Essene) Damascus Document of The Dead Sea Scrolls